EastJet halves losses to €72m

Low-cost airline EasyJet cut its losses in half in the six months to April and is nearing a decision on whether to upgrade its fleet with updated Airbus or Boeing jets.

Europe’s second-largest budget carrier said yesterday it was in the “final stages” of choosing whether to go with re-engined Airbus A320neo planes or Boeing’s 737 MAX.

The airline is looking at buying up to 200 of the new, fuel-efficient planes, which are not available until 2017 and 2018, so it is also negotiating a bridging deal.

EasyJet chief executive Carolyn McCall said “this year is the year we will know whether we are making a recommendation to upgrade the fleet or not... we want to get the right terms and the right price so we may recommend (a deal) or we may not”.

However, a source said talks between easyJet and the planemakers were going down to wire with a decision in principle seen possible within days.

EasyJet reported a pre-tax loss of £61m (€72m) for its fiscal first half ending in March, down from a loss of £112m a year ago.

The airline, which makes its profit in a second half that includes the busy summer holiday period, said it was helped by Easter falling earlier than a year ago and strong bookings from customers wanting to escape cold weather in Northern Europe.

The airline forecasts 4% growth in revenue per seat in the next six months and improved profitability for the full-year.

— Reuters


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